Richland County Commissioners have temporarily altered the Stage 1 Fire Ban to allow for the use of fireworks through July 4.

Richland County Commissioners met on Monday morning, June 28, 2021 and passed a resolution temporarily allowing fireworks through the week and up to and including July 4. The resolution overrides the prohibition of fireworks due to a Stage 1 Fire Ban currently in effect.

The lifting of the fire ban also allows the City of Sidney’s ordinance allowing fireworks during this period to apply as well.

According to Sidney’s Ordinance 584 adopted in October 2020, “Permissible fireworks may not be discharged before 9 a.m. or after 11 p.m. between June 27 and July 3 and may not be discharged on any day on which it would be unlawful to sell such fireworks, except that fireworks may be sold or discharged until midnight on July 4 and 12:30 a.m. on January 1. Fireworks may not be sold before 9 a.m. or after 10 p.m. between June 27 and July 4.”

Permissible fireworks include helicopter type spinners, Cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, wheels, illuminating torches and colored fire, dipped sticks, firecrackers and salutes, whistles without reports, and railway fuses. Each of these types do have limitations and those using them should consult Sidney Ordiance 584 for those limitations.

While fireworks will be allowed, the resolution passed by commissioners did not change other parts of the fire ban.

According to the resolution, restrictions include: “Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, warming fire, charcoal grill fire, fused explosive, or explosive targets unless noted and allowed in an exemption stated in the resolution.”

Along with fires, smoking is also prohibited unless the smoker is in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

Welding or operating acetylene is also prohibited with a few exceptions. A 10-foot area in diameter must be cleared and the user must possess a pressurized fire extinguisher.

There is also a catch-all phrase that prohibits “any other activity that poses a significant threat of starting a fire.”

There are a few exemptions, however. These exemptions include:

Activities covered by a written permit from a duly constituted authority that specifically authorizes an act otherwise prohibited;

Using pellet grills, electric powered pellet grills, or grills solely fueled by liquid petroleum/LPG fuels/propane equipped with an operable shutoff valve;

Activities in designated areas specifically authorized in those areas by written notice by a duly constituted authority posted at the site of a designated area;

Burn barrels with spark arrestors, with a pressurized water supply or pressurized fire extinguisher on site and with constant human monitoring; and

Federal, state, and local officers or members of an organized rescue or firefighting force while in performance of their duties.

The bottom line is, whether you’re using fireworks, grilling out, or doing anything that could possibly start a fire during the current drought, always err on the side of caution and common sense.

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